During the second wave of COVID-19 in India, Maharashtra is one of the most affected states in
the country. Though the government has been taking measures, adequate help to far-flung areas is yet to
arrive. In the dire need of support, people from the underprivileged communities are looking for any
form of support with the hope that their loved ones survive through this crisis. Because Vibha’s project partner, LeapForWord (LFW) had conducted training for teachers in English literacy 10 years ago when the organization was at its inception phase, the people of Rohini (a tribal village in Shirpur Block in Dhule District (about 300 km from Pune, Maharashtra) were aware of the services LFW provides. Hence, a Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Rohini reached out to LFW for medical assistance.
The PHC reached out to Pranil Naik (the founder of LFW) for support and without any delay he stepped up for help and procured medicines from his pocket. While talking to Vibha about the current situation, Pranil expressed the urgent need for medicines in Rohini village. Vibha has been supporting LFW’s English Literacy program since 2019. Vibha immediately provided the appropriate funding and LFW started sending medicines to the
Public Health Centre in Rohini.
But soon a new problem arose. The Maharashtra Government placed lockdown/ restrictions on travel due to the prevailing pandemic situation and those medicines needed to be picked up from Mumbai as mailing them would delay the process. Pranil, called Shyamlal Paware, a young graduate of the village who had been a part of LFW’s teachers’ literacy program, along with other villagers, took the responsibility of bringing the medicines to the village on 6th May 2021. Currently, Shyamlal is earning his livelihood through farming and is occasionally teaching in a hostel of Rohini. Pranil is confident that there are more Shyamlals in Rohini who will come forward to fight this battle against COVID. Pranil says, “When we cannot directly reach the communities who need us the most, we can mobilize the youth population and train them to save lives. More strategies of LFW to mobilize the youth are underway”
Such crises are the times when humans’ capacity to collaborate, assimilate and innovate come out. When
we stand for each other, we can achieve anything and overcome great odds. We, at Vibha, want to reach
out to many such villages like Rohini and extend our support to save lives.